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Regional Specialties

Across Kentucky, certain regions are known for a particular interest, geographical feature, or culture. The western part of the state is known for quilts, the Bluegrass area for its horse farms, south-central Kentucky for its abundance of caves and the Corvette, and eastern Kentucky for its unique Appalachian dialect and mountain culture. We should appreciate these differences, make an effort to celebrate them, and learn from them.

Leaving My Little Mountain Home (Far Behind) by Monticello author Betty Carter (Authorhouse, $17.75) is a recollection of life in the mountains as well as the Big City. Though the work is biographical, Carter has changed the characters’ names “to protect the guilty.” The heroine of the story, Beth Ann, experiences a bit of culture shock when she marries at 15, leaves her modest childhood mountain home, and moves to Indiana with her husband, experiencing for the first time things like running water inside the house, electricity, and television. Hilarious tales follow as Beth Ann learns to live like a city wife before eventually moving back to the mountains, appreciating all that she has learned and all from which she has come. The novel catches the reader up to present day as a melancholy Beth Ann enjoys her newfound career and her grandchildren.

According to Louisvillian David Dominé, a Louisville Victorian neighborhood called Old Louisville is best known for its hauntings. In his book, Ghosts of Old Louisville (McClanahan Publishing House, $21.95), Dominé recounts chilling tales of restless spirits lurking in the grand homes, some built more than a century ago. Several photos of the homes mentioned are included with specific addresses for the very brave adventurer who would like to see for himself if these tales hold true. Not the average campfire ghost stories, these accounts are sure to raise a few goose bumps as you read. Incidentally, Dominé is a resident of one of the homes mentioned in the book, and has experienced his own brush with an ethereal resident.

Kentucky is very fortunate to contain so much natural beauty all across the state, but perhaps one of our most recognized areas of this beauty is Mammoth Cave National Park, home to 50,000 acres of hills, streams, and forests, along with at least 350 miles of cave passageways, making it the most extensive cave system on Earth. New York photographer Raymond Klass was granted special access to the cave and its surroundings, and has captured more than 100 bits and pieces of its natural beauty in his book of photographs, Mammoth Cave National Park: Reflections (University Press of Kentucky, $25). The detail in the photographs lets the reader absorb the wonder of Mammoth Cave perhaps more than a simple day trip to the park could ever provide.

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